MARINE >> Australia Marine Conservation
Society - KI Branch
The AMCS, Kangaroo Island Branch, was formed to provide facts and local
contacts to community members interested in marine topics. The local
branch actively assists research scientist, coordinates and produces
public educational displays, provides a community resource base for
individuals or groups seeking to become involved with marine topics
the ocean? We do. Every breath we take is linked to the sea. This vast,
three-dimensional realm, accounting for 97 percent of Earth's water,
also makes up more than 95 percent of the biosphere. The living ocean
drives planetary chemistry, governs climate and weather, and otherwise
provides the cornerstone of the life-support system for all creatures,
from deep-sea starfish to a desert bush. That's why the ocean matters.
If the sea is sick, we'll feel it. If it dies, we die. Our future and
the state of the oceans are one." quote from Sylvia A. Earle, International
Oceanographer, in the book Sea Change, 1996, Putnam's Sons.
This site is provided through the voluntary services of local community
and the Kingscote Area School. Items on the site are intended to provide
educational information for community and students seeking factual resources.
Through this site we hope to keep others abreast with local marine biology,
relevant research from Kangaroo Islands temperate waters and AMCSKI.
We will also use this site to post periodic updates from the two AMCSKI
related Coast Care projects: Hog Bay Reef and Pelican Lagoon. If you
would like automatic updates, please register your interest and forward
your e-mail address to email@example.com
Kangaroo Island Branch
Post Office Penneshaw
5222 South Australia.
Fax: (0848) 31002
Kangaroo Island is located within temperate waters. Recent
surveys including departmental divers and community divers have recorded
a number of plant and invertebrate marine species not previously known
to occur in these waters. Of particular interest are a tropical water
feather star of the genus Ptilometra and an
Antarctic algae from the genus Dasya.
Tuna holding operations in South Australia are having
difficulties finding suitable sites for topping up condition of wild
caught fish before shipping to market. Early this season existing unused
oyster leases were considered for upgrading to tuna farm leases. Among
these sites were sections the Backstairs Passage at the eastern end
of Kangaroo Island. Through a process of registering community concerns,
a number of
significant questions were raised:
* How much nutrient do 50 thousand penned tuna put into
the waters of Backstairs Passage on a daily basis?
* What affect will increased nutrient loads have on the temperate reefs,
temperate benthic flora and fauna?
* What are the problems inherent with increased nutrient loads?
* Penneshaw township focuses on the coastal environment. What provisions
are available for residents to recoup lost tourism income resulting
in decreased aesthetic value, loss of opportunities for marine ecotourism,
decreased use of area due to perceived shark presence?
To date these questions have not been acknowledged or answered by the
Development Assessment Commission of South Australia. AMCSKI have assisted
by supplying names and contacts where the community can access factual
information. This has been working well but there seems to be a major
rush by the aquaculture organisations to push things through before
too much interest is expressed. We are interested to hear from other
community groups who have become involved in similar issues.
DRAGON SEARCH has opened a community education display at the new Penneshaw
Kangaroo Island Information Centre. The display is well illustrated
with photographs of local leafy seadragons provided by AMCSKI branch
members. Little is known about the life history of the Weedy or Leafy
Seadragons in the wild. Presently there are no successful planned captive
breeding programs for these species yet they can be removed from the
wild under license. There is concern in South Australian waters over
the apparent decline of local populations from unknown causes. DRAGON
SEARCH is a community based survey of seadragons in South Australian
waters sponsored by Ocean Rescue 2000, SARDI, MCCN, MISA,
MLSSA, Coastcare, and the National Threatened Species Network SA.
"The world's ocean is a huge reservoir for life,
from shallow seas to the Mariana Trench. But humans of our century have
endangered this reservoir, with wholesale destruction of nearshore habitats,
tropical fringing reef systems, invertebrates and fishes and several
whales and dolphins as well. Ozone depletion is choking the life of
the ocean by changing the delicate balance of rains, evaporation and
global climate itself. It is not too late, for with studies of life
comes knowledge. Knowledge can lead to wisdom and wisdom to the chance
to effectively change our ways. For this, we need your help." Dr.
Bernd Wursig, New Zealand Marine Biologist ; quote from Earthwatch 1997
Since the winter solstice a lot has been happening on
Kangaroo Island which is affecting the sea around us. Local divers and
community have been involved with three Coastcare Programs: Hog Bay
Reef, Pelican Lagoon Seagrass Ecosystems and Nepean Bay Marine Monitoring.
All three programs are involved with trying to get a better understanding
of what is a sustainable marine environment.
As a result of the community interest in Seadragons in
our area, AMCSKI linked with Dragon Search to bring a travelling educational
exhibition to the island. The initial venue was at the new Penneshaw
Kangaroo Island Information Centre where several thousand visitors viewed
the display and contributed a number of Seadragon Sighting Reports.
The display is now travelling through the community schools and will
open at Jenny Clapsons Gallery in Kingscote for the spring/summer holiday
A second community display for the Information Centre
was prepared by the KI Branch with help from GreenCorps Volunteers who
are working on the island. Hog Bay Reef, the Temperate World of Colour
is a spectacular array of local shallow water denizens presented as
colour photographs by community diver Pauline Barrett.
The display links with the current Hog Bay coastcare community
program. AMCSKI Branch President John Lavers is getting weekly assistance
from the local school measuring sand movements around Hog Bay. Other
community members are assisting in marine biology, geography of the
bay and local marine archaeology.
The KI Branch presented a written submission to the Development
Assesment Commissson concerning proposed Upgrading of Aquaculture Leases
from Muscle Lease to Tuna Lease in Backstairs Passage. A second submission
focussing on feedlot operations for blue fin tuna was forwarded to the
Environment Resources & Development Committee. This submission was
timely in view of the recent IUCN/WWF statement on world decline of
Blue Fin Tuna fisheries. Members of the KI Branch are also involoved
in a larger hearing on Aquacultre in South Australia. Local school children
have also become interested in aquaculture and how it interacts with
our community. Students of the Penneshaw Area School sent letters
and illustrations of their interest to the Environment Resources &
Development Committee of the South Australian Upper House which at the
present time is looking at the affects of aquaculture. This committee
includes Senator Mike Elliot.
South Australian Ports Corp recently commissioned a proposal
for a major development of a breakwater at Hog Bay Kangaroo Island.
This proposal was released for public comment late July and has generated
a lot of interest. Concerned community have asked the AMCSKI Branch
to act on their behalf and present a
number of issues for consideration. Amongst major points are inaccuracies
in maps for the proposed development, insufficient data on currents
within the bay, insufficient data on the sand movements within the bay,
and oversight of registered archaeological sites under the Commonwealth
Marine Historical Shipwreck Act.
Local divers have been helping biologist and marine botanist
to record the temperate life of Backstairs Passage. This is a narrow
passage separating the east end of KI from mainland South Australia.
Extreme currents and predominantly high winds make this an interesting
area to work. The nearby Pages are home to the largest breeding colony
of Australian Sealions (Neophoca cinerea) and the area is frequented
by resident dolphin pods and migrating whales. Recently tropical water
invertebrates and cold water marine plants have also been found resident
on the island side of the passage. Extensive beds of marine sponges,
crinoids and soft corals add to the rich temperate biota.
"Humans are not custodians of nature, but part of
it. In the biosphere of this universe, our species is one minute speck.
Whereas humans argue and debate their role on the planet, nature continues.
By observing and learning from organisms which have existed and will
continue to exist independent of our species, we establish a perspective
of another reality. Loss of perspective is deadly. In human society,
money makes the world go round. In nature money will never make the
sun come up. Understanding our place in nature is not key to the planets
continued existence, but it is to ours." quote from Dr. Peggy Rismiller,
Australian Environmental Physiologist, presenting a Public Lecture,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, November 1996, subsequently
reproduced in Earthwatch 1997 Expeditions Update.